Don’t Fear the Fava Bean

The fava bean is a vegetable superstar. Not only does it taste good but it’s good for you and acts as a cover crop.

Quite a few of the Market’s farmers have them fresh in the pods and a few offer and -out-of-pod experience but you still have to peel the beans.

Despite being called a bean, the fava is actually a member of the vetch or pea family and actually has more in common as far as taste is concerned with the common pea than with other beans. Although the appearance of the shelled bean looks similar to a lima bean, it tastes more like an English pea.

Fava beans have no cholesterol but lots of protein, are high in fiber, iron and calcium, are low in fat, and probably fit the criteria for being a super food. A cup of shelled and peeled fava beans contains 512 calories, not a low number but remember that they are rich in protein, they are small, and we usually eat them in small quantities, not by the cup.

How to Store
To store fava bean pods, place them in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator right away. The pods will keep for five to seven days in the refrigerator.

Store cooked and peeled fava beans in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to five days at most.

How to Prepare There are three steps to preparing a Fava Bean:
1. Removing the beans from the pod.
2. Blanching the beans to soften for easy removal of the outer shell.
3. Peeling off the outer shell before eating or cooking to end with a bright-green, bean!

Or you could go the Cindy Palcyn route as recommended in this Sunset Magazine article

grill them, serve’em in the pod and have people peel their own.

Here are some more easy cooking and eating tips from Redwood Empire Farm, a Saturday vendor at the market.

“Fava beans
can be served simply boiled, mashed and spread on crostini, or added to spring stews and soups. They are often paired with artichokes or other spring vegetables such as peas and morels. I once made a fabulous osso buco with fresh fava beans.

As a matter of fact, Italians credit the fava bean as a factor in saving Sicilians from starvation during a time of famine. Since then, the fava has been considered good luck. Now that luck – and magic – is being enjoyed at more American tables.”

On a more positive note, some think favas may help in treating Parkinson’s disease, and others use them as a natural alternative to Viagra. Fava beans are rich in L-dopa, a substance used to treat Parkinson’s. Some link L-dopa with libido. Consult your doctor

If it all looks like too much work — The Hummus Guy has prepared fava beans.